Reflections – Ed Alleyne-Johnson

  • For years, Ed Alleyne-Johnson has carved a niche for himself halfway between classical music and rock. His electric violin provides a perfect hybrid of the two sounds, the deeper, subdued tones of the violin meshing with the sheer energy of the electric guitar.

    Reflections sees him turn his attention away from original compositions to covers of some of his favourite tracks, with variable results. Shine On You Crazy Diamond is a near perfect fit, Pink Floyd's focus on the orchestration above the lyrics allowing Johnson to cut loose to tremendous effect. Phil Lynott and Gary Moore's Parisienne Walkways is equally impressive and on tracks like this and Child In Time, Johnson has the space to really show off what his instrument can do. The electric violin sounds like nothing else on Earth and anyone who hasn't heard one could do a lot worse than pick up one of Johnson's albums to hear what the instrument is capable of in the hands of such a gifted man.

    However, whilst Johnson's love for this music is clear, it doesn't quite gel with his style. There are several tracks here that simply don't work without vocals, Life On Mars by David Bowie in particular. Here, Johnson's violin takes over the vocal line and the end result is a disaster, a cover lacking all of the energy and emotion of the original.

    Tracks like this aside, Reflections shows Johnson is still at the top of his game technically but lacks the intelligence and passion of his original compositions. Ed Alleyne-Johnson is a fascinating musician but this isn't his best work by any stretch.